"Just Chew It" by Glenn Emmery

Having never run a marathon, I recieved advice from friends (runners and non-runners) to wait and run GMM another time, after I had a marathon under my belt. They all felt that the GMM would be to great an undertaking for a first time marathoner and that I could be setting myself up for defeat. I agreed with their logic, but I had a friend who was signed up to run it already and I thoughtback to advice my Mother gave about life: "Sucess....is biting off more than you can chew........ and then Chewing it!" I completed my first ever half marathon in April and sent in my GMM paper work that same day(on my way home from the race). I spent the next sixteen weeks training hard, some days feeling confident and others feeling like I had made a huge mistake. Reading the stories on this website always lifted my spirits, I would come away feeling like, "I'll tackle this mountain and I'll finish this race whatever the outcome!" As the day drew near, I knew that my goal would be to just get in under five hours and take my victory lap at the highland games. If I could do that and earn my medal and t-shirt then I would be satisfied. Race day came and I was so glad to have some cool weather, I knew that would help and I would take all the help I could get. I was nervous and excited, I just kept my pace in mind and the lap of victory at the finish. "Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, don't start off too fast, nice and easy, run at your own pace" I was saying to myself. for me the slower the better at the start. I met so many peopl out there, a woman who had run six GMMs a man who was on GMM number fifteen. I met several first time marathoners and people of all ages. Everyone was very friendly and encouraging, all the veterans were offering much welcomed tidbits of information about the course. The course itself was magnifcent! Stunning views throughout. I love the North Carolina mountains and I can't think of a better way to see them. So there I was sometime between miles ten and fifteen and I wasn't not sure but it felt like I'd pulled a muscle in my upper right thigh (later the other would prove troublesome as well). It wasn't overly painful but I had not felt anything like it in training. On pace for a five hour finish, I just kept going. Then just after fifteen miles my calves felt as tight as banjo strings, I couldn't properly stretch them because of the strain it was putting on my other muscles. Slightly off my pace, I just kept going. Sixteen and seventeen were tough miles, But I found strength at eighteen and rolled through to twenty, still slightly off pace . It wasn't until mile twenty four that I thought I wasn't going to make my goal. At twenty five I conceeded that I wouldn't make it. But kept going just the same. By now I'm just running as far as I can then walking for a minute or two. A fog had settled in and I couldn't see twenty yards in front of me, which was probably a good thing. When I reached Macrae Meadows I realized that I had made it! I entered the track alone and took my victory lap it was a very emotional moment. I could hear the bag pipes playing but the fog prevented me from seeing the pipers. I could barely see the cheering crowd either, but I could hear them loud and clear! When I rounded the last turn I saw the clock. It read 4:59:15 I gave it my version of a sprint and finished in 4:59:40, I made my goal with 20 seconds to spare! It was a fantastic race, the support and organization were superb thankyou to all the voluteers. I will definately be back next year!